The Center for Service and Leadership invites UW Tacoma staff and students to join them for Friendsgiving Nov. 15 in the Mattress Factory, room 107 from noon to 3 p.m. to socialize, eat, play games and have fun.
Katrina Miyamoto, junior at UWT and program assistant for the CSL, talks about the inspiration behind organizing the Friendsgiving event and the importance of having community-building events on campus.
“This is the first year that we are doing it. Paul (my boss) was saying how he saw students eating in their cars, or that they would find a niche corner to do their work and not necessarily be engaging with others on campus,” Miyamoto said. “I think that is the hardest, where we have a lot of new students or transfer students from community colleges and they have to start from scratch meeting new people.”
Keeping in mind their mission statement, the CSL is trying to bring together students and staff from across the campus to create new friendships. Tatyana Anderson, communications coordinator for the CSL, believes that events like Friendsgiving are important for building a community.
“As students gather around and are eating, we want to get to know them,” Anderson explains. “We emphasize community, and I feel like this event will do that perfectly.” For CSL members, hosting a Friendsgiving celebration is a great way for others to join in, open up and make lasting connections with a diverse group of people.
Tea, coffee and hot chocolate will be provided by the CSL. Some of the members will also be bringing cultural dishes they normally would have at home this time of year. They are also encouraging those who are planning to attend to do the same.
“What we put into the invitation is to share a dish from your culture,” Miyamoto said. “Turkey is not from everyone’s culture, and we didn’t put a base for what people should bring because we didn’t want people to gravitate on it, and instead bring their own dish, their own culture, with them.”
There are ways to contribute to Friendsgiving other than by bringing a cultural dish. The CSL is partnered with UWT’s Pantry and is taking donations to help fill its shelves with food and hygiene products. The Pantry is located in DOU 104 and provides food and hygiene supplies to all students. However, the only thing needed to attend Friendsgiving is to bring yourself and be open to meeting new people.
Along with food and drink, there will be activities and games. Just like food, Miyamoto welcomes others to share the games that they would play at family events. She is currently looking at games such as chess, Uno, Mancala, corn hole and possibly video games for people to play and socialize over.
The CSL wants students and staff to remember that they can be a part of a large community and feel welcomed.
“I want people to feel like they are a part of something,” says Anderson. “With a commuter campus, it is so hard to find a community as you are always coming and going. I want them to take away that they have a place they can go to where we are welcoming and that they belong.”